Image Credit: nyu.edu
Lately, when logging into Steam, I’m bombarded with deals on games. Some I’ve heard of and have wanted to play for a while, others are just faint memories coming from recollections of reading about them on Reddit and other news sites. Some are just enigmas, veiled behind confusing names meant to grab my attention. But it doesn’t matter… I want them.
My will has disappeared. Confusion is oh so clear, but I push on, clicking on tab after tab of 40, 50, and oh God what’s that, 75% off?! My wallet quivers in my back pocket, and I don’t think it is sweat I’m feeling back there, but its soft, leathery tears pooling together. It knows what’s coming, Steam knows what’s coming, I know what’s coming. Cha-ching.
I can’t resist. I’m a hollow, shell of a man with no self-control. Of course I say this with a whisky on ice sweating next to me and a cigar burning between my lips. I know I’ve done a bad thing, like a dog caught in the act of peeing on the Syrian area rug. But it’s not shame that’s racing through my mind. No, it’s something much different, almost its antithesis: Pure bliss.
They say that serial shoppers get a sort of high from buying items, but that high goes away once they come down and realize what they’ve done, how they’ve blown money that they don’t have. Suddenly, that item loses all of its appeal, and ceases simply becoming an item, and instead becomes a vessel, a metaphor for their misgivings.
I can’t help but feel like I’ve fallen into this trap too many times over the years. It’s honestly just sad looking through my library of games and realizing how many aren’t even installed, let alone played. As I look it over, I swear to myself that this time it’s going to be different. This time, I’m going to stay strong and just say no to drugs…I mean games. I can do it.
I can’t do it. For a moment though, I’m excited. I get to see what all the fuss is about when it comes to one of this year’s hot titles. I can’t wait to start the download, tweak my visual settings, and get to playing. But, soon, my phone vibrates with an auto-notification from PayPal that my credit card has been charged and the payment was made out to Steam, and that shame wave crashes over me once again. It’s such a short feeling of happiness, but I don’t know how to stop.
What is causing this? Why do I feel the need to just buy into blatant consumerism? Am I product of the system? Have I given into the corporate gaming machine? I hope not. It’s hard to see inside my own mind; it’s dark in there, and I’m not a psychologist. My only hope is that I’m not the only one out there with a mountain of games I’ve rashly purchased on a whim, sitting in my library, rotting away with the smell seemingly seeping out of my computer and tormenting me. Please tell me there just one poor soul who knows my pain. This is supposed to be a joyful time of year, full of loving one another and giving gifts to friends and family, and here I am, staring at my credit card bill.